Nathan Stubbs

Foreclosure concerns hitting Gulf Coast

by Nathan Stubbs

While hurricane recovery aid has largely helped bolster the Gulf Coast economy, there are now signs that the country’s ongoing mortgage crisis is hitting home. Focusing in on Hurricane Katrina victims, USA Today reports that several nonprofit housing consulting agencies are finding foreclosure cases piling up. "We're seeing a pretty steady stream of foreclosure issues," says Bruce Dorpalen of ACORN Housing in New Orleans. A number of issues, including the end of moratoriums on mortgage payments by banks in Louisiana and Mississippi and ballooning debt for victims trying to repair their homes and pay off mortgages, have helped spark foreclosures.

According to the online foreclosure Web site RealtyTrac , foreclosures in Louisiana and Mississippi have been well behind the rates in other states. The site, which says Louisiana foreclosures are now trending upwards, lists 650 foreclosures in Louisiana and 148 in Mississippi for the month of February, compared with more than 12,000 in Texas for the same month.